Well, we have sort of finished a pilgrimage to get to Angkor Wat. We started in Wat Phu in Laos, peddled over 400Km along what was an ancient way connecting two of the most important Khmer temples together. We have also spent loads of time learning about the ancient Khmer religions and beliefs, looking at other temples and generally getting confused around the different myths surrounding these temples.
Our day started at 5am. A frantic bike ride to make sure we got to the temple before dawn. Dawn sort of happened about an hour after we arrived. Hey ho. We joined one or two others, looking at what is the biggest religious building in the world. So impressive. We could list superlatives at this point, but it’s really about the feeling, the soul of the place. All the myths and stories help put the stones into context, but it is so impressive. It stands in Cambodia, next to huge poverty, and a recent new story of unbelievable brutality and sadness at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. A story that is still unfolding with the legacy of thousands of mines, a whole generation of the country’s intelligent and sophisticated people murdered and a land that has been stripped of anything edible. Still the people smile.
Angkor Wat is the sort of place that we all maybe should see. But to fly in, view, and fly out would miss the point. It is a huge site, with over 50 world class temples, all over 1,000 years old. It is mainly Hindu, with a mix of Bhuddism. It’s also about politics and local kings trying to make a point about their lives. It makes one of the most interesting places that we have had the fun of exploring.
The cycling was grand!